More than 500 wine lovers attended an Italian wine trade show held in Nairobi on Tuesday.
The event, which was hosted by Italian wine promotion agency Gambero Rosso in conjunction with the Embassy of Italy in Kenya, sought to link Kenyan wine traders to Italian producers.
35 wine producers from various vineyards in Italy took part in the event.
Speaking during the event, Italy’s ambassador to Kenya Roberto Natali said “Imports of Italian wine to Kenya increased by 17pc in 2023 making Italy the third largest source of wine in Kenya.”
He added that “Italy considers Kenya as a point of reference on the African continent and a key partner for the promotion of Italian products abroad which is currently a top priority for the Italian government.”
An estimated 32 million litres of wine are consumed in Kenya annually, most of it imported from South Africa and France.
The rising demand for premium wines in the country is largely attributed to Kenya’s growing middle-class and a sophisticated population of young consumers.
“This is the first time Kenya is hosting this famous Italian wine road show and we appreciate the organizers for taking the initiative to put it together,” said Kenya Tourism Board’s Head of Corporate Communication Wausi Walya.
“Italy is one of the countries that has made a full recovery in terms of tourist arrivals to Kenya in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic and we hope that such initiatives will encourage more tourists from Italy to visit Kenya.”
Hotel and restaurant owners who attended the event lauded the efforts to incentivise trade between Kenya and Italy noting that such initiatives added great value to the hospitality sector by reducing the costs that Kenyan buyers often incur when they travel overseas to source products.
They however raised concerns over the high foreign exchange rates in the country which make it expensive for importers to bring foreign products into Kenya.
Ten establishments in Nairobi, Malindi and Watamu were also feted for exemplary hospitality services during the event.